US broadband privacy rules repealed by President Trump

05 April 2017 |

President Trump has repealed the Obama administration's privacy rules attempting to limit the ability of ISPs to share and sell customers' browsing histories for profit.

The Republican party in Congress voted, on 28th March, to repeal a set of decisions made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in October 2016 which had the effect of ensuring that US ISPs to get prior permission from their customers before collecting some types of personal information.

The vote went along straight partisan lines with the vast majority of Republicans voting to repeal the rules and the Democrats voting against.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said: “President Trump and Congress have appropriately invalidated one part of the Obama-era plan for regulating the Internet. Those flawed privacy rules, which never went into effect, were designed to benefit one group of favoured companies, not online consumers.

He continued: “American consumers’ privacy deserves to be protected regardless of who handles their personal information. In order to deliver that consistent and comprehensive protection, the FCC will be working with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to restore the FTC’s authority to police Internet service providers’ privacy practices. We need to put America’s most experienced and expert privacy cop back on the beat. And we need to end the uncertainty and confusion that was created in 2015 when the FCC intruded in this space.”

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said: “I applaud President Trump and Congress for undoing the FCC’s detrimental privacy rules. The parade of horribles trotted out to scare the American people about its passage are completely fictitious, especially since parts of the rules never even went into effect. Hopefully, we will soon return to a universe where thoughtful privacy protections are not overrun by shameful FCC power grabs and blatant misrepresentations.”

The joint resolution which put the changes into effect, S.J. Resolution 34, was presented by Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and sponsored by 24 other Republicans.